Friday, December 19, 2008

Julie and Ryan Mix it Up for Their Wedding

Julie and Ryan are seriously into music-She is a flutist and Ryan sings in barbershop quartets. So, they wanted to include all kinds of music at their winter wedding.

Here's what I played (for more information on these songs, check out my repertoire list).

Pre-Ceremony Seating Music:
1. "Star of the County Down" (traditional Irish)
2. "Unchained Melody"
3. "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty" (Christian hymn)
4. "You'll Never Walk Alone"
5. "Silent Night"
6. "La Vie En Rose"
7. "In Dreams"
8. "Come What May"
9. "Canon in D"
10. "Clair de Lune"
11. "Arabian Dance"
12. "Annie's Song"

Wedding Party of 3 Bridesmaids: "Ave Maria" (Schubert) 
Bride's Entrance: "Here Comes the Bride" 
Music played softly behind Ceremony: "Some Enchanted Evening" 
Music during the Lighting of Unity Candle: "You Raise Me Up" 
Recessional: "March" from the Nutcracker Suite

Post-Ceremony Music Played During Photo Session:
1. "The Angelical Hymn"
2. "Into the West"
3. "(Everything I Do) I do It For You"
4. "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow"
5. "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes"
6. "Ice Castles (Through the Eyes of Love)"

The scene was set for the wedding, with candles lit throughout the indoor gazebo at David Walley's Resort in Genoa, Nevada.

When Reverend David Beronio arrived, I checked in with him about my cues for the ceremony and then seating began. He checked in with Wendy, the wedding coordinator. I began playing "Ave Maria" just as Reverend David walked up to the altar with the gentlemen. Trouble was, I had not set my harp in the correct key after coming off of playing "Annie's Song" for the seating.

In walked the bridesmaids on cue, and I just continued flipping harp levers, playing an errant note here and there, until the harp was finally in the correct key. I felt like a gymnast who starts off her routine a little wobbly and has a flawless finish. All else went perfectly. The bride walked in to her majestic music, and I was in sync with all my cues from the minister.

Did the bride and groom notice, in that candle-lit room decorated like Christmas? Did the bridesmaids notice? Not that I knew. Everyone complimented about the music. Only Reverend David took notice and mentioned afterwards, "Was wondering about that first song, but it all came out beautifully!" (Rev. Dave is a fan of music played during the ceremony).

As I left at the end of Julie and Ryan's photo session, Julie gushed about how she loved "Some Enchanted Evening" played during her ceremony, and off they went to their reception.

Tips for Brides:

Go ahead and mix up your music list for your wedding. Like Julie and Ryan, you can let your music selections be a reflection of you and your fiancé. Just make sure to clear your ceremony music choices with your officiant, especially any tunes played during the ceremony itself. 

In the above example, you'll notice that I was in touch with the wedding coordinator and the minister before and during the ceremony. When you hire services providers who are professional, they work together as a team to make everything come out perfectly. It is a plus if the service providers have worked with each other in the past, too. For instance, I am familiar with Reverend David's ceremonies, so I know that he welcomes music played within the ceremony.

When you hire your wedding service providers, ask how long they have been in business as well as whether they know some of the other providers you have already hired. Then, you can relax in the knowledge that you have hired a team of professionals who will take care of your wedding needs.

Tips for Musicians:

Check in with everyone prior to the wedding ceremony to get your cues, even if you have worked with the minister and the coordinator in the past. Every wedding is different, and you might find out that there was a change made in music or cues at the last minute.

And if your instrument, your voice, or your ensemble members crack a wrong note, just keep on going. You can't go back and fix that moment, but you can perfect the remainder of your performance. We're all human, and stuff just happens. Professionals make mistakes all the time--they just know how to cover for them.

Many more tips are available from my book "The Musician's Guide to Brides" available wherever Hal Leonard Books are sold: music and bookstores, and through online retailers including,, and of course, at my website at

I'm looking forward to reading your stories, comments, and feedback. Have a wonderful Holiday Season and a Very Happy New Year!

Sending Warm Wishes, 
Anne :-)
Celtic Harp Music by Anne Roos

P.S.--Musicians--Get a jumpstart on your New Year's Prosperity Plan. Attend one of Bob Baker's workshops.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

‘Tis the Season to Party—The Economy Isn’t That Bad

Rich contacted me to perform at his company's "Holiday Family Luncheon". He was desperately looking for some kind of entertainment that would fit the budget he was given. When I gave him a quote, he exclaimed, "You're much cheaper than a dance band or a DJ! Those guys want $1500 or more, and that doesn't even include their mileage." Within 24 hours, I was hired for a 4-hour holiday party.

About 250 employees, along with spouses and children, attended the banquet. Trees with twinkle lights, fountains, and park benches decorated the Tuscany Ballroom of the Peppermill Resort Casino in Reno, Nevada for this special event. And there I sat, with my harp, dressed in my white and gold gown. Rich said I looked like a snowflake.

I played every holiday classic tune you could imagine, including Victorian Christmas carols and music from the Nutcracker Suite. I also took requests, playing "Stairway to Heaven" for Rich (never mind that it wasn't a Christmas song). And then, when Santa entered the room, I played "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". (For more information of the extent of my song list, check out my corporate repertoire list).

I was tickled to hear from so many guests that the music set a wonderful backdrop for the occasion. People could visit with each other without having to shout over a loud PA system. Many of the attendees stared at me while I played, mentioning later that they had never seen a harp before and were amazed. At the end of the party, Rich, and another company event coordinator Sheryll, said they would certainly consider me for their future employee events and next year's holiday party.

Though there is so much talk of a bad economy and companies pulling back on their holiday festivities this year, this example proves that there are companies that are not in trouble. Rich and Sheryll worked for two merged companies that make chocolate and pet food-both staples that people continue to buy, even in a recession. Holiday cheer still exists.

Tips for In-House Corporate Event Planners:

A down economy does not mean that you have to say, "Bah Humbug!" And put the brakes on your annual employee holiday parties. They can still happen-Just scale them back to fit your present budget.

Instead of the expensive DJ or dance band, opt for soloists or small ensembles. Your guests will be able to mix and mingle without shouting, and not as much space will be required for the performance area. If it is a family party, you can even host a talent show or have employee's children perform, with a little backup accompaniment from a professional musician. There are many inexpensive ways to entertain.

You can also opt to have your party in a smaller venue, go with a buffet service instead of a sit-down meal, or serve only one course, for instance appetizers or desserts. What other budget-saving ideas can you think of?

There are many ways to trim the expenses on your holiday festivities without nixing them altogether, and you can always afford live entertainment.

Tips for Musicians:

Do you truly think that the economy is so bad that no one is partying this year? Think again. Companies that are in recession- proof businesses are doing just fine.

Make yourself affordable to your clients. If you are a large band, let clients know that they can hire just a portion of your group. If you are a soloist, you are probably charging quite a bit less than bands or DJs, and this is a major selling point.

Give the client one quote for the entire package and don't itemize the cost of everything that you are including. Give a secondary package quote if the client doesn't have the budget for the first quote you supplied. Offer to match the theme of the event with your costumes and repertoire. Offer no-cost amplification or other complimentary frills to land the gig.

When you are at the event, be willing to take requests. Play an encore--be generous with your abilities and your time. Bring a few CDs to give as gifts to those who hired you and to the CEO. Realize that corporate clients are in a position to hire you for their future events. The goal is to attract repeat business, and this is accomplished by bending over backwards for your clients.

Stay positive in this tough economy, and you will attract clients to you.

Many more tips are available from my book "The Musician's Guide to Brides". This book is written primarily for wedding musicians, but it's also filled with advice about marketing, advertising, and promoting your business as a working musician. It's available wherever Hal Leonard Books are sold: music and bookstores, and through online retailers including,, and of course, at my website at Celtic Harp Music.

I'm looking forward to reading your feedback about performing at corporate functions. Check back here again for next week's story.

Anne :-)

Anne Roos
Celtic Harp Music by Anne Roos

Monday, November 24, 2008

Karen’s Happy Wedding Day

Karen had everything lined up months in advance for her destination wedding at the historic Cal-Neva Resort at the north end of Lake Tahoe. Karen scheduled a lovely November wedding inside the Lakeview Chapel. The alpine views were gorgeous.

Karen was precise about every detail for her wedding. The autumn bouquets and the rust-and-gold color scheme matched perfectly. But there was one thing that was out of her control—Reverend Dan thought the ceremony was to start at 4 pm, not 3:30. He arrived 30 minutes late to the ceremony!

Karen was cool about it and happily walked down the aisle without taking notice at all (I think she was too happy to worry about the time on her wedding day!).

Fortunately, I always book ceremonies with a cushion of extra time, just in case the ceremony starts late or runs longer than expected. So, the 90-minutes I scheduled worked out just fine. The newlyweds were whisked off to their reception immediately following the ceremony, and I did not go beyond the time I booked for my performance.

Although the ceremony took place in a chapel instead of a church, Karen wanted Christian hymns intertwined with modern popular selections for her ceremony music. So, she requested to have every other song as a hymn for the seating of the guests. Here’s what I played (for more information on these songs, check out my repertoire list.

Pre-ceremony seating music:
1. “Wind Beneath My Wings”
2. “Amazing Grace”
3. “Imagine”
4. “Morning Has Broken”
5. “From This Moment On”
6. “Be Thou My Vision”
7. “You Raise Me Up”
8. “We Gather Together, A Prayer of Thanksgiving”
9. “Hero”
10. “Blest Are They”
11. “Once Upon A Dream”
12. “Here I Am, Lord”
Mother’s Lighting the Unity Candle: “Ave Maria” by Schubert
Wedding Party of 6 Bridesmaids, 1 Flower Girl, and 1 Ring Bearer: “Canon in D”
Bride’s Entrance: “Here Comes the Bride”
Recessional: Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March”

Karen still had a ceremony full of live music--A ceremony that starts late does not need to ruin the bride’s entire wedding day.

Tips for Brides:

Having a timetable for your wedding day agenda is important, but realize that there can be a delay in your ceremony or reception events. You may have absolutely no control over these mishaps—a bridesmaid may rip her pantyhose before she walks down the aisle, the ring may have been left back at the hotel room, or the minister may arrive late (as in the above example). Don’t let these things get under your skin.

Plan for an extra cushion of time by hiring your wedding and reception services for longer periods than you think may be necessary. You’ll avoid the possibility of paying costly overtime fees. Reserve the ceremony and reception sites for more time, too.

Why feel rushed if some things don’t start exactly on time?

Tips for Musicians:

Always book your wedding gigs with more time than anyone thinks is needed. Anything can happen to delay the start of the ceremony, and the ceremony may run longer than anyone anticipated.

This goes for reception musicians, too, because if the ceremony starts late or runs long, the reception may start late, too. And what if the meal is late being served?

Keep in mind that the larger the guest list, the longer it takes to move the crowd—Seating will take longer, and so will exiting. Therefore, book extra time for larger groups of attendees, too.

When you are generous with the time you quote for weddings, you won’t need to ask for overtime pay. Overtime pay may be a great boon for your bank account, but it is a major bummer to have to request it from the bride.

Many more tips are available from my book “The Musician’s Guide to Brides” available wherever Hal Leonard Books are sold: music and bookstores, and through online retailers including,, and of course, at my website Celtic Harp Music by Anne Roos.

I’m looking forward to reading your stories, comments, and feedback. Check back here again for next week’s story.

Anne :-)

And Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the U.S.!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Jerry and Angel Tie the Knot

Not many people plan November weddings, but Jerry and Angel went about it right. It’s off-season for weddings, and that means the wedding services they chose were immediately available. They may have even received a discount for some of their wedding services—A good move in this economy.

Here at Lake Tahoe located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, it’s chilly fall and the outside temps are not the most comfortable for either the guests or my Celtic harp. So, Jerry and Angel held their wedding indoors, where they and their 30 guests could have a lovely view of Lake Tahoe at Lakefront Wedding Chapel.

Getting married in a chapel does not mean that you are resigned to use their minister. Angel and Jerry brought in Pastor Alan, a Baptist minister, to officiate the ceremony. Everything from the lighting of a Unity Candle to Communion was included in a ceremony that lasted less than one hour!

Pastor Alan personalized the ceremony by including a very sweet story about how Angel and Jerry met online eleven years ago and were finally tying the knot. This moved their guests to both laughter and tears. Angel’s father, with tears in his eyes, started off the ceremony with a prayer. The mark of a great minister is one who will welcome adding material to a wedding ceremony to make it personal to the bride and groom.

Jerry was in charge of music selection, and he decided to mix modern popular love songs with traditional wedding music and Christian hymns. Here’s what I played (for more information on these songs, check out my repertoire list.

Pre-ceremony seating music:
1. “Everything I Do I Do It For You”
2. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”
3. “Unchained Melody”
4. “When I Fall In Love”
5. “Take My Breath Away”
6. “When You Believe”

Mother’s Lighting the Unity Candle: “Blest Are They”
Wedding Party of 1 Bridesmaid, 1 Flower Girl, and 1 Ring Bearer: “Canon in D”
Bride’s Entrance: “Here Comes the Bride”
After Angel’s father’s prayer: “Here I Am Lord”
Played softly behind vows: “All I Ask of You”
While Angel and Jerry light their Unity Candle: Kenny G’s “Wedding Song”
During Communion: “The Love I Found in You”
Recessional: Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March”

Post ceremony music, while people exited for photos outside:
1. “I Will Always Love You”
2. “From This Moment On”

The look was classic, with Angel’s color selection of silver, light blue, and black (I wore silver silk and black velvet to match the wedding party).

A lovely, one-hour chapel ceremony can be beautiful, affordable, and personalized, right down to the choice of music, vows, and colors.

Tips to Brides:

June is the most popular wedding month, and in many locations, summer is the biggest wedding season. Save money by choosing an off-season wedding date. Even consider a weekday over a weekend date. You’ll have an open choice of available wedding vendors, and you might even receive discounts.

Tips to Musicians:

Only the Pre-Ceremony and Post-Ceremony tunes listed above were played in their entirety. The others were shortened. I needed to watch when the mothers were lighting the candles and wind down “Blest Are They” when they went to their seats. I needed to see when the last attendant in the wedding party arrived at the altar so that I knew when to wind down “Canon in D” and start playing “Here Comes the Bride”. Using your eyes, as well as your ears, is an important skill to develop when performing at weddings. Look up from your sheet music from time to time so that you don’t miss all the action.

Many more tips are available from my book “The Musician’s Guide to Brides” available wherever Hal Leonard Books are sold: music and bookstores, and through online retailers including,, and of course, at my website at Celtic Harp Music by Anne Roos.

Jump in and add your comments. Please share your stories and feedback...I’ll continue this blog with another event story next week.

Anne :-)